November 3, 2022
9 scholarships for online students
Taking remote classes? Getting your entire degree online? Get help paying for your college tuition with these scholarships for online students.
The pandemic has accelerated plenty of online trends—and nowhere has this been clearer than remote college.
According to the National Center For Education Statistics, the vast majority of students are at least partially enrolled in distance learning courses. Many are taking classes fully online.
Taking classes online offers many benefits, from saving time to scheduling flexibility. But it still costs money.
That doesn’t mean you have to pay for your online classes entirely out of pocket or with loans, though.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 scholarships for online students, covered below. Apply to each of these if you meet the requirements, and you could be on your way to free college money for your online degree program.
Can online students get scholarships?
Online classes are quite popular nowadays. The number of students enrolled in fully online programs has jumped dramatically in recent years.
But, according to Best College’s 2022 Online Education Trends Report, financial challenges continue to be the primary obstacle for online students.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re at an online college or enrolled in remote learning at a traditional school. Award amounts of varying sizes, from small scholarships to full rides, could be available to cover the cost of an online degree.
This will only get easier as time goes on. As distance learning rises in popularity, more and more organizations are making merit-based and need-based scholarships available to a wide range of online students.
9 great scholarships for online students
Need help paying for your online classes, textbooks, or other school supplies? There are plenty of scholarship opportunities—almost too many.
If you’re unsure where to start, check out our list of 9 great scholarships for online students below.
Niche.com, a ranking and review site, runs a monthly $2,000 scholarship giveaway called the No Essay College Scholarship.
Here’s all you have to do to apply:
Create a Niche.com account or log into your account if you have one
Fill out the quick, 2-step application
You’ll provide the following information:
Date of birth
Some academic/school-related information
Winners are picked at random. Apply every month to maximize your shot at winning.
Study.com’s Online Undergraduate Degree Scholarship awards $500 annually to 1 undergraduate student winner.
Drawing is not entirely random. Instead, Study.com judges your academic history and extracurricular activities. You must be at least a graduating high school senior who is a US citizen or permanent resident and accepted to a college (and planning to attend college).
You must also provide a quote and digital photo of yourself to place on Study.com if you win their online scholarship.
The application deadline is May 1 each year, so get your application in before then to be considered.
The Courage to Grow Scholarship offers applicants a shot at $500 in free college money each month.
Applying for this scholarship opportunity takes just minutes. You’ll fill in the following information:
First and last name
Date of birth
Then, you’ll write a 250-word statement on why you deserve to win the scholarship.
High schoolers and college students with at least a 2.5 GPA can apply.
To enter, you create a greeting card design idea as an original photo, artwork, or computer graphic. You then visit the scholarship’s website to fill in your information and upload your design.
The Gallery Collection hires greeting card design experts to pick 100 designs each month for several months. Selected designs are voted on via the Gallery Collection’s Facebook page. Judges also pick designs they think deserve to move on.
One winner each year among the top 10 finalists wins $10,000, and their school wins $1,000.
The College JumpStart Scholarship is designed to help high school students get some money for college ahead of time. It’s open twice a year to 10–12th graders, college students, and non-traditional students.
This scholarship doesn’t look at financial need, grades, or extracurriculars. All you submit is their application, which asks for basic personal and school information along with a 250-word personal statement.
Each winner is awarded $1,000 for education expenses. Applications are due April 15 each year for the spring scholarship and October 17 each year for the fall scholarship.
Online students who are legal residents of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New York, or North Carolina can apply for Greenhouse Scholars’ Scholarship if they meet a few eligibility requirements:
They are a graduating high school senior planning to attend a 4-year institution
They have a cumulative, unweighted GPA above 3.5
They have financial need: an annual household income of $70,000 or less
This scholarship has 4 rounds—an eligibility survey, academic information and essays, video responses, and a final round containing an interview and more academic information submissions.
In each round, the committee decides which candidates will move on to the next round.
There are 2 types of awards you can apply for:
A 4-year, renewable scholarship of up to $5,000 per year
Flex funding grants of up to $2,000 per award
This scholarship is fairly competitive and rigorous, but the financial award is significant.
Penn State’s World Campus is one of the largest online college presences in the world. Consequently, they give out a lot of money through their World Campus Scholarship programs.
The award amounts can vary, but the application is fairly straightforward. Applicants must fill out the usual application information, then write a personal statement and an essay before submitting.
You have to be enrolled in Penn State World Campus courses and fill out the FAFSA to be eligible to apply. The application is separate from the FAFSA.
Penn State’s World Campus offers undergrad scholarships only right now. However, World Campus graduate students can apply for Penn State’s regular grad scholarships.
C-SPAN hosts an annual video documentary scholarship competition for students called StudentCam.
Students in grades 6–12 can participate. To enter, you must create a 5–6-minute video documentary answering this C-SPAN competition question:
“If you were a newly elected member of Congress, which issue would be your first priority and why?”
The grand prize winner earns $5,000 for college, and their chosen teacher or school wins $750. There are other awards as well as the grand prize:
1st prize—4 awards of $3,000 per student and $500 per teacher/school
2nd prize—16 awards of $1,500 per student and $250 per teacher/school
3rd prize—32 awards of $750 per student and $125 per teacher/school
Honorable mentions—97 awards of $250 per student
The Future of School acknowledges that online learning has a critical role in, well, the future of schooling. So, they created the Future of School Scholarship Program to help students cover their online education costs.
Eligible applicants planning to attend a 4-year college or university can win up to $10,000 per year for school. Up to 10 of these awards may be available.
Applicants planning to attend a 2-year community college, vocational-technical school, or trade school can win up to $5,000 for 1 year, but rewards are not renewable for these institutions. However, up to 20 of these are available each year.
Other forms of aid for online students
Online students have just about as many financial aid options as traditional students. Many of these options will require you to fill out the FAFSA, so be sure to set aside time each year to do that.
Others might just demand a quick Google search to find them.
Either way, here are some other types of financial aid online students can look for:
Grants are need-based aid you don’t have to pay back. That means they’re free money, and you don’t have to compete to win them.
The Pell Grant—designed specifically for undergraduate students—is the most well-known and requires you to file the FAFSA to qualify. Online students can qualify for the Pell Grant if they meet its other requirements.
You can find more grants through your state, nonprofits, and other private and professional organizations. For instance, New York resident students attending a New York school, such as NYU, are considered for the NYS TAP program when they file the FAFSA.
Fellowships are a type of aid for grad students that supports them with tuition costs and a living stipend. The stipend helps students cover their basic living expenses so that they can focus more of their mental energy on their studies and research.
Like scholarships, fellowships are merit-based—you have to compete to win them. However, they aren’t “1-time” awards. Instead, you receive the stipend throughout your entire education if you continue to meet the requirements.
Assistantships are jobs where students help professors and get paid for it.
These are mostly for grad students, but some schools offer undergrad assistant jobs.
There are many types of assistantships. These include:
Teaching assistant: You help a professor teach a class, grade exams, etc.
Lab assistant: This is the same as a teaching assistant, but for the lab portion of certain courses.
Research assistant: You assist the professor with research by finding books in the library, analyzing data, and so on.
Graduate assistant: This is a more general role that might do some of each of the above.
Aside from the great pay for a student position, assistantships can look fantastic on a resume, help you secure a letter of recommendation, and get your foot in the door at a future job if your professor has connections.
Assistantships may be more limited for online programs, but remote assistantships are still out there.
Work-study is a form of FAFSA aid that places you into a job on or off campus. Your paycheck goes directly toward your education expenses.
The program does its best to place you in a major-related job, but you may also get a role related to civic education in general.
These jobs tend to be flexible about scheduling around your classes, but you can only work up to 20 hours per week.
Work-study can work quite well for students in online programs, thanks to the explosion in remote work. You may not even have to commute for your work-study role.
Federal student loans
Some of these loans don’t even accumulate interest until the end of the repayment grace period.
Plus, federal student loans offer deferment, forbearance, and income-driven repayment plans if you’re struggling to make payments.
Private student loans
You can get private loans through banks, credit unions, and online lenders.
Be warned, though: these come with higher rates and may require good credit. If you don’t have good credit, the lender may ask for a cosigner, like a parent or relative, to sign on with you.
Private lenders will do their best to ensure you can afford to repay the loan, but they don’t offer the same payment plans and assistance as federal loans.
Generally, it’s best to use private student loans as a last resort.
Cover the cost of online classes
Remote learning can be a great option for students who have busy work schedules or can’t live near the physical campus.
Cost doesn’t have to stop you, either. Online students have access to almost as many scholarships as traditional students.
Start with the ones above before looking for other aid sources—prioritizing “free” money, like grants and work-study.
Speaking of, Mos can help match you to scholarships, grants, and other sources of free college money so that you can afford your education. Try it for free today.
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